Hyundai Ioniq long-term review
Hyundai's first hybrid has plenty to offer, but how will it fare as a photographer's assistant?...
The car Hyundai Ioniq HEV Premium SE Run by Will Williams, photographer Why it's here The Ioniq is available as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a fully electric car. With sales of these vehicles growing fast in the UK, it's time to see what Hyundai's first effort is like to live with* Needs to Accommodate all the camera gear, be comfortable over long distances and offer impressive fuel economy
Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi Premium SE List price £23,595 Target price £22,891 Price as tested £24,160 Options £565 metallic paint Dealer price now £16,519 Private price now £14,684 Trade-in price now £13,788 Test economy 49.9mpg True MPG 46.9mpg Official average 78.5mpg Contract hire £259.99+VAT Cost per mile 11.7p Total running cost £2490.40 fuel Insurance group 11 Typical insurance quote £417
21/02/2018 - ‘It looks like we’ve made it to the end’
385 days, 21,247 test miles, 55 fill ups, two tyres and two services later, its time to say goodbye to our long term Hyundai Ioniq. During the time it’s been with us, we’ve been all over the country in it. But, after all that time and all those miles, does the Ioniq add up to being a viable alternative to the car that has become the synonym for hybrid, the Toyota Prius?
Since this was my first extended experience of a hybrid car, I thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with our photographer Will Williams – who ran the Ioniq originally – because he’s had more experience in this field. We both agree that the Ioniq is a fine car, with only a few gripes: some of the interior plastics feel a little cheap and have been scratched far too easily, the seats are a bit flat, and don’t quite give enough side or leg support, there’s a bit of road noise at motorway speeds and the foot operated parking brake is archaic and too easily left on when pulling away.
Despite those flaws, though, I feel the biggest achievement with the Ioniq is how normal it feels to drive – something which took the Prius a couple of generations to achieve. It’s partly down to the use of a standard six-speed automatic gearbox rather than the CVT automatic you’ll usually find in a car like this. This is interesting because, despite the negative feelings people have over CVT gearboxes and the way they make the engine sit at high revs while accelerating; a CVT is the most efficient way for transmitting the engine’s power to the wheels because it follows the power curve more faithfully than a gearbox which has to shift gears ever can.
The Ioniq’s 1.6-litre petrol engine kicks on instantly with the electric motor assisting initial acceleration, and in many ways it feels like an ordinary petrol automatic, aside from the complete lack of engine sound at low speeds. The steering is light, wind noise is shut out well and the ride is rather comfortable for the most part, helped no doubt by the 15in wheels fitted to our car.
However, it’s not all been plain sailing. As you can tell by the mileage, the car has been in near constant use ever since we got it. Over the cold winter period, though, the Ioniq was left standing for ten days, during which time the battery went flat. A call to the AA had a mechanic out with a jumper pack, and the car was alive. But, despite running it for an hour, the car was dead again when I tried to drive it home later that day. So, Hyundai took it back and found that there was a battery drain. After a software update, the car was returned to us and it has been fine ever since.
Now, we haven’t seen or heard of many other Ioniq owners experiencing this particular problem, and our car is an early one, having been registered on 14th September 2016. Most will have received this update by now, especially if they’ve just been in for a service. But it’s worth considering if you are going on holiday and leaving your Ioniq for a week or two.
On the whole though, has the Ioniq impressed us? Well, since we’ve named it as our Hybrid Car of the Year, beating more expensive rivals such as the Volkswagen Passat GTE and the Audi Q7 e-tron to the title, the answer is a resounding yes. Our overall economy figure of 49.9mpg compares well with other hybrids we’ve put through our True MPG test, and thanks to the Ioniq’s low purchase price, generous equipment levels and practical five-door body, it’s easy to understand why it scooped the award. In fact, given the backlash from car buyers who have fallen out of favour with diesel cars but still need a big, five-seater vehicle, the Ioniq could be just what they’re looking.